Archive for August 2015
- Black people all across the country are effectively being disenfranchised by state takeovers of their public schools. So says KE-RON BLAIR, executive director of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, a coalition of nine organizations representing more than seven million students, educators and community members. Blair says state takeovers have accelerated across the country, almost exclusively in heavily Black and brown districts.
- The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, co-founded by Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix, is gearing up for three days of protests in New York City, October 22 through 24. The Rise Up October campaign held a rally at the First Corinthian Baptist Church, in Harlem, last Thursday, under the heading, “What We Must Do to Stop Police Terror and Murder.” The most effective testimony of the evening came from relatives of people killed by cops, like Juanita Young, the mother of Malcolm Ferguson.
- The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held its national conference, in Philadelphia. The theme was “Black Power Matters,” and the demand put forward was Black Community Control of the Police. The conference occurred not long after members of the HASHTAG Black Lives Matter organization failed to make any demands during their encounter with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford told the Black Is Back conference that the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization are trying to drag the Black people’s movement into the clutches of the Democratic Party, where progressive movements go to die.
- In Philadelphia, Her-DOE-jah Benton, of the Uhuru Movement, in St. Louis, Missouri, spoke to the Black Is Back Coalition conference.
- Philadelphia is notorious for the brutality of its police. But, the family of 22 year old Tyree Carrol is fighting back against a police culture of violence. The young man was beaten by dozens of cops on the street in front of his home. A neighbor recorded the beating on video tape, and activists have been mobilized. Asantawaa Nkrumah Ture is a spokesperson for Justice for Tyree Carrol.
- Baltimore community organizer Tre Murphy helped raise half a million dollars bail for Allen Bullock, the 18-year-old who smashed the window of a police car during the rebellion over the cop killing of Freddie Gray. Allen Bullock’s bail was higher than that set for any of the six cops charged in Freddie Gray’s death. Community organizer Tre Murphy says high bail is just another weapon of oppression against Black and poor people.
- Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is usually associated with anti-war positions. But, the New Hampshire senator, who claims he’s a socialist, seems to be encouraging the Saudi Arabian regime in its war against Yemen. According to Sam Husseini, of the Institute for Public Accuracy, in Washington, Bernie Sanders appears to get excited about the Saudis waging war against their neighbors.
- One thousand Black activists, scholars and artists have signed a petition in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. The petition endorses the call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the apartheid Israeli regime. Kristian Davis Bailey is part of the team that gathered the signatures. Bailey notes that there is a price to be paid when Black Americans take a stand for Palestine.
- Activists from Ferguson, Missouri and Greater Black St. Louis called a press conference to denounce police assaults on demonstrators protesting the killing of a Black teenager, last week, as well as the re-opening of 1,000 misdemeanor cases against demonstrators arrested during the past year of protests against the police killing of Michael Brown. Eighteen-year-old Mansur Bey was shot to death by St. Louis police, who claimed he pointed a gun at them. The neighborhood didn’t believe the cops story. When hundreds took to the streets, they were tear-gassed, with nine arrested. Activists with the Organization for Black Struggle say the police are deliberately provoking the community and trashing people’s constitutional rights. They were joined at the press conference by Attorney Denise Lieberman, of the Advancement Project, and Brendan Roediger, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law. Montague Simmons, of the Organization for Black Struggle, said the community is fed up with the cops and the local power structure.
- Dhoruba Bin Wahad, the former Black Panther Party member and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army, who served 19 years as a political prisoner, was severely beaten, earlier this month, by members of the so-called New Black Panther Party. The 71-year old Wahad and five other men were attacked by 25 to 30 people at a New Black Panther Party event at an Atlanta Hotel. A video shows the mob acting on party leader Malik Zulu Shabazz’s orders. Kalonji Jama Changa, of the Free the People Movement, was one of the men assaulted along with Dhoruba Bin Wahad. Wahad and Changa held a press conference, but Changa did all the talking, because Wahad’s jaw was wired shut.
- It’s almost time for the new school term to start. But public school teacher Marilyn Zuniga won’t be returning to class in Orange, New Jersey. She was fired after her third grade students sent get-well letters to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, when they learned that he had become ill. Ms. Zuniga hasn’t been able to line up another public school job, but she’s putting her time to good use.
- Supporters of Dr. Anthony Monteiro rallied near Philadelphia’s Temple University, last week, demanding his reinstatement. Monteiro is a Philadelphia native and lifelong activist. He was fired, with the university’s complicity, by Dr. Molefi Asante, who then changed the name of African American Studies to the Department of Africology. Temple University is also in turmoil because of its close ties to comedian Bill Cosby, who used to sit on the university’s board of trustees.. Cosby’s lawyer is chairman of the board. Amid all this scandal and gentrification, Dr. Monteiro says nobody at Temple University is speaking up for Black people’s interests.
The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds its national conference in Philadelphia, this weekend, under the theme, “Black Power Matters: Black Community Control of the Police.” The Milwaukee chapter of the Black National Defenders is part of the Black Is Back Coalition. Organizer Amerikus Luvene says the Black National Defenders, or BND, envision one day replacing the police, altogether.
Demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, mark a year of intense struggle since the death of Michael Brown, but, what is the State of the Movement?
A U.S. Embassy opens in Havana, Cuba.
Haiti holds its first elections in four years.
Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, has been confirmed to be suffering from hepatitis C, a serious liver disease that doctors believe played a part in his near-death, earlier this year, from diabetic shock. But, the State of Pennsylvania doesn’t provide adequate treatment for prison inmates with Hepatitus C. Attorney Brete Grote says the state’s inaction has caused Abu Jamal’s legal team to file papers in court.
Despite his medical problems, Mumia continues to write regular essays for Prison Radio. Here’s his latest, entitled, “Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment.”
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan is gearing up for the 20th anniversary of the historic Million Man March, October 10th, in Washington, DC. The event will be held under the slogan, “justice or else.” Speaking at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, in Miami, Florida, Farrakhan said Black folks should seek vengeance against their oppressors.
We recently spoke with one of the nation’s most respected human rights movement couples: former political prisoner and people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, and veteran Black activist Ralph Poynter. Poynter is part of the Black Is Back Coalition, which holds its national conference in Philadelphia August 22nd and 23rd. The Black Is Back Coalition is pushing for Black Community Control of Police.
Efia Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina, and its community radio station, WMXC, is also a longtime people’s lawyer. Wangaza has taken a leading role in persuading the United Nations to denounce how the U.S. treats prison inmates, especially its massive use of solitary confinement. Last month, to great fanfare, President Obama promised to commission a study on reducing solitary confinement. We asked Efia Nwangaza if she is impressed.
Lastly, Sara Flounders, talks about President Obama uphill battle to prevent Congress from scuttling his deal to cancel massive sanctions against Iran. U.S. sanctions and western war threats against Iran are based on the charge that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. However, in 2007 and again in 2011, all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Iran had no military nuclear program. So, the question is, how do you deal with a U.S. policy on Iran based on lies that even U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe?